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Unisa Press

Empire & cricket

Laminated softcover, 346 pp with over 70 rare historic photographs
ISBN 978-1-86888-540-4 (Item 8030) 2009 World rights: Unisa Press. Limited edition
SA price: R270.00 
Other countries in Africa: R370.00 (Airmail incl)
Rest of the world: US$51.00 (Airmail incl) GB₤30.00 (Airmail incl)€40.00(Airmail incl)

 Empire & cricket - The South African experience 1884-1914
south africa, british / history / sociology / human rights
Bruce Marray & Goolam Vahed(editors). With Foreword by André Odendaal

empire & cricket
‘ A refreshing, original work that … contributes significantly to new understandings of the early history of cricket in South Africa, as well as cricket in the “Mother Country” and other parts of the globe …’

From the foreword by André Odendaal


If you are interested in cricket and the intricate politics surrounding its early history in South Africa, this is ONE book you need to own, because it

  • brings to life the early political and sporting history of South African cricket
  • contains numerous rare historic photographs and illustrations
  • is the first specialised study in almost a century, of the formative years of South African cricket prior to the First World War
  • reveals new historical facts by a range of scholars and cricketing  aficionados
  • is a limited edition collector's item presented as a large-format coffee table book

The period 1884 to 1914 was not only significant for South Africa as a country – these were also the formative years of South African cricket, which saw 

  • the establishment of the all-white South African Cricket Association (1890) and the non-racial South African Coloured Cricket Board (SACCB) (1902)
  • the beginnings of first-class cricket and the inauguration of the inter-provincial Currie Cup competition
  • the staging of regular inter-provincial tournaments by the SACCB for the Barnato Memorial Trophy
  • the rapid progress of South Africa to Test match status along with England and Australia
  • the establishment of South Africa's key role as a founder member of the Imperial Cricket Conference (1909), to regulate test match cricket.

empire & cricket: THE INSIDE STORIES


  • Cricket is More than a Game – Bernard Hall, Richard Parry & Jonty Winch 
  • Black Cricketers, White Politicians and the Origins of Segregation at the Cape to 1894 – Richard Parry
  • Guardians of the Game: The Role of the Press in Popularising the 1888/89 Tour and Establishing the South African Cricket Association – Jonty Winch
  • ‘I Could a Tale Unfold’: The Tragic Story of ‘Old Caddy’ and ‘Krom’ Hendricks – Jonty Winch
  • Empire, Race and Indian Cricket in Natal, 1880–1914 – Goolam Vahed & Vishnu Padayachee
  • B. Tancred and his Brothers – Bernard Tancred Hall
  • George Lohmann – Keith Booth
  • Cricket's ‘Laird’:  James Logan – Dean Allen
  • R. M. Poore: Sporting Prowess and Imperial Controversy – Jeremy Lonsdale
  • The Boer Prisoners of War in Ceylon and the ‘Great and Grand Old Manly Game of Cricket’ – Heinrich Schulze
  • Two Cricketers and a Writer: The Strange Case of 'Buck' Llewellyn, Jimmy Sinclair and Major Bowen – Jonty Winch & Richard Parry
  • The Googly, Gold and the Empire: The Role of South African Cricket in the Imperial Project, 1904–1912 – Richard Parry & Dale Slater
  • Constructing Imperial Identity: The 1907 South African Cricket Tour of England – Geoffrey Levett
  • Abe Bailey and the Foundation of the Imperial Cricket Conference – Bruce Murray

More about the book

Empire and Cricket illuminates the complex relationship between cricket, and the making of South African society, between 1884 and 1914.

This critical era for South Africa and the British Empire encompassed the economic revolution following the discoveries of diamonds and gold, the South African or Anglo-Boer War, and the segregationist structuring of South African society.

 The book demonstrates the way in which cricket lay at the heart of social and political developments in South Africa and the wider Empire; cricket was integral to the imperial project. The volume’s contributors, from the UK, South Africa and Australia, describe how cricket acted as a vehicle for Empire, and they explore the impact of cricket on race and class. Empire and Cricket documents the role of the small and tightly knit white elite with overlapping interests in cricket, politics and business, and the largely ignored world of‘non-white’ (African, coloured and Indian) cricketers and politicians.

As the book underlines, the history of cricket in South Africa is essentially political in nature, and the close connection between politics and cricket goes back to the emergence of South Africa as a Test playing country in the late nineteenth century.

Cape Prime Minister Cecil John Rhodes included cricket in his drive to impose a segregationist structure in the African sub-continent, and together with his acolytes in the Western Province cricket establishment successfully blocked the inclusion of the coloured fast bowler, H. ‘Krom’ Hendricks in the South African teams of 1894 and 1895. Hendricks and other coloured cricketers were thereafter systematically hounded out of all forms of representative cricket at the Cape, effectively ensuring the segregationist future of South African cricket for much of the twentieth century.

The book recalls the feats of those who first placed South African cricket on the international map – Bernard Tancred, ‘Barberton’ Halliwell, Jimmy Sinclair, ‘Buck’ Llewellyn, Reggie Schwarz, and Aubrey Faulkner – and chronicles the stories of cricketers like Nathaniel Umhalla, Hendricks, and Robert Grendon, who never had the chance to perform on the international stage. It explores the widespread enthusiasm for cricket among all of South Africa's communities, and the passion and success with which blacks played the game.

As post-apartheid South Africa struggles to escape the shackles of the past, an understanding of what went before is crucial to its transformation. Empire and Cricket is more than an account of cricket in South Africa at a crucial period of its development: it is also a critical addition to the narrative of segregation, Empire and the growing literature of sport in history.